Have you learned any new ukulele skills lately? Have you tried to chuck the Ukulele? Ukulele players have so many fun techniques to play around with! The chuck is a fun, percussive technique that can add a lot of “pizazz” to your songs. It gives your songs some much-needed dynamics and interest. Below I will outline how to chuck the ukulele. Get your fingers ready! You’ll be on your way to chucking in no time!
Chuck The Ukulele Means… Mute!
A chuck is essentially the same thing as a mute. Both terms are used for this technique in the ukulele world. When you chuck, you create a muted, staccato sound by quickly stopping the strings with your strumming hand, which can help to create a more complex and interesting rhythm.
How to Chuck
To begin, hold your ukulele like you normally would, with one hand on the neck and your strumming hand by the strings. You want to place the fleshy part of your palm, near your thumb, on the strings at an angle, RIGHT before you strum, preferably with just your index finger. It happens super fast. Some people do the opposite, and place the hand on the strings after the strum. But for now, I’ll just explain this way. When you lift your strumming hand quickly, it creates a percussive sound. Cool, right?! You’ll create an interesting rhythm when you repeat the chuck.
This is a great guide where Terry shows you exactly how to chuck with a “palm chuck” as some people call it. He has you practice strumming and then chucking. Terry explains that the chuck will always happen on a down strum. At first, you might have a heavy hand and do it with a bit too much power, but this technique takes practice and I know you’ll get it! You can practice with a chord progression in Terry’s video guide, too.
Katie DeNure of One Music School also has some different approaches to chucking that you may find helpful in this video:
She shows you three different ways you can use to chuck. Start off slowly, then speed up, as she explains. The first technique is a left-handed mute. Lay the fingers of your left hand across the fretboard. Lightly touch them to mute them. Then when you strum, you get a chuck sound. She also goes into the palm chuck, similar to Terry Carter’s technique above. In the third approach, she shows you how to use three of your fingers and nails to strum down, and then come up with your thumbnail. This one can be tricky, but just keep at it, and it will come to you.
In the following video, Terry shows you how to mute individual chords using a simple Bossa Nova pattern.
When to Chuck
You can chuck with any style of music. From traditional Hawaiian music to blues, pop and rock music, the chuck is a useful technique to jazz up your strumming. This adds texture and depth to your playing.
Read more: Top Ukulele Chords You Need To Know
History of Chucking
The exact origin of chucking is unclear, but it is thought to originate in the early 20th Century by Hawaiian musicians as a way to add a rhythmic element to their playing. Musicians Roy Smeck and Lyle Ritz popularized the technique in the 1950s and 1960s. It has since become a standard way to play the ukulele. Chucking has recently gained more popularity partly because of so many tutorials and resources online for learning the technique. Many modern players incorporate this into their playing and performances, too.
Learning how to chuck will increase your overall technique and skills with the ukulele. Your hand strength and dexterity will also improve!
If you have any questions about chucking or want to get to know other ukulele players, check out the Community Forum on ukelikethepros.com. You can also post videos of yourself playing. We’ve got great memberships in monthly and yearly packages for all the courses on the site, too. Learn to chuck today, connect with other players, and take your playing to the next level!